Gabbard: Assange arrest is ‘slippery slope’ for journalists, Americans
A Democratic congresswoman who is running for president criticized on Thursday the Justice Department’s indictment of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, saying it puts the US government on a “dangerous and slippery slope” in its treatment of journalists and all Americans.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, who also serves in the National Guard, told CNN’s Jake Tapper that much of the information released by Assange provided transparency on important issues.
“I think what’s happening here is, unfortunately, it is some form of retaliation coming from the government saying, ‘Hey, this is what happens when you release information that we don’t want you to release,’ ” Gabbard said on “The Lead.” “And I think that’s why this is such a dangerous and slippery slope, not only for journalists, not only for those in the media, but also for every American that our government can and has the power to kind of lay down the hammer to say, ‘Be careful, be quiet and fall in line, otherwise we have the means to come after you.’ “
Assange was arrested Thursday morning in London after Ecuador revoked his diplomatic asylum claim. He has been charged with helping former Army intelligence specialist Chelsea Manning access Defense Department computers in 2010 in an effort to disclose secret government documents, the US Justice Department announced. Assange was forcibly removed by authorities from the Ecuadoran Embassy in London.
Gabbard has staked out anti-interventionist foreign policy positions in Congress. Most notably, her 2017 meeting with Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad drew widespread criticism.
CNN’s Allie Malloy contributed to this report.